Widow of hotshot describes 1st Christmas without her husband - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Widow of hotshot describes 1st Christmas without her husband

Andrew and Juliann Ashcraft Andrew and Juliann Ashcraft
This was the last photo Juliann received from her husband before he died battling the fire on June 30. This was the last photo Juliann received from her husband before he died battling the fire on June 30.
YARNELL, AZ (CBS5) -

For the families of the 19 Granite Mountain hotshots killed battling the Yarnell Hill Fire, it was the first Christmas without them.

Juliann Ashcraft likes to remember times of fun, games and laughter with her husband, Andrew Ashcraft and their four children.

But the picture-perfect family was torn apart by tragedy. Andrew Ashcraft was one of the 19 Granite Mountain hotshots killed fighting the wildfire on June 30.

"We're just going to have to grit our teeth and bear it this year," Juliann Ashcraft said. "It's rough, you know, you don't want to celebrate anything."

Ashcraft said her family follows the same traditions every year.

"We would always put up our tree on Black Friday. Andrew would get all the decorations down and we would decorate as a family. He would set up the tree and then the kids would all put up the ornaments and after they went to bed, he and I would then go hang the Christmas lights outside the house," Juliann Ashcraft said.

Now, it's just her and the kids.

"It's been interesting now to do all my mom duties and once the kids go to bed, I realize I have to do the dad duties and it's exhausting, it is just so exhausting," she said.

But she said life with the kids must go on.

"They are on all the time so we don't have a choice to lay in bed and cry. You've got to go to work and do things for them," she said.

She believes things will get easier in time.

"He'll be with us throughout the years to come. There's no doubt in my mind. Hopefully there will come a time when we can think about him and smile before we cry. This year, unfortunately, we'll probably just spend a lot of time in tears on Christmas," she said.

Ashcraft said Christmas was made possible this year by the 100 Club of Arizona, a nonprofit group that provides aid to families of fallen officers and firefighters.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Information sought in Moss Bluff hit-and-run accident

    Information sought in Moss Bluff hit-and-run accident

    Thursday, April 19 2018 12:50 PM EDT2018-04-19 16:50:20 GMT

    Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s officials are looking into a hit and run accident.  It happened in the early afternoon of Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Sam Houston Jones Parkway in Moss Bluff. CPSO says the driver of a dark colored 4 door Toyota Tacoma Sport backed into an SUV in the parking lot and drove off.  The Tacoma should have minor to moderate damage on the left rear corner of the truck. The public is being asked to help in this i...

    More >>

    Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s officials are looking into a hit and run accident.  It happened in the early afternoon of Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Sam Houston Jones Parkway in Moss Bluff. CPSO says the driver of a dark colored 4 door Toyota Tacoma Sport backed into an SUV in the parking lot and drove off.  The Tacoma should have minor to moderate damage on the left rear corner of the truck. The public is being asked to help in this i...

    More >>
  • JDPSO searching for burglary suspect

    JDPSO searching for burglary suspect

    Thursday, April 19 2018 12:40 PM EDT2018-04-19 16:40:43 GMT
    Steven Sean Willis (Source: Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office)Steven Sean Willis (Source: Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office)
    Steven Sean Willis (Source: Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office)Steven Sean Willis (Source: Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office)

    Authorities are searching for a suspect who burglarized a barn on April 18, according to Chris Ivey, chief deputy of Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office.  Steven Sean Willis, 25, of Lake Charles is wanted for one count of simple burglary and theft of approximately $6,000 in metal pipe and pipe fittings. Upon deputies arrival to the scene, Willis is said to have fled in his vehicle before fleeing on foot into a wooded area at the dead end of a road in Cal...

    More >>

    Authorities are searching for a suspect who burglarized a barn on April 18, according to Chris Ivey, chief deputy of Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office.  Steven Sean Willis, 25, of Lake Charles is wanted for one count of simple burglary and theft of approximately $6,000 in metal pipe and pipe fittings. Upon deputies arrival to the scene, Willis is said to have fled in his vehicle before fleeing on foot into a wooded area at the dead end of a road in Cal...

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Beautiful weather continues through Friday; changes by this weekend

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Beautiful weather continues through Friday; changes by this weekend

    Thursday, April 19 2018 12:39 PM EDT2018-04-19 16:39:20 GMT
    Changes on the way this weekendChanges on the way this weekend
    Changes on the way this weekendChanges on the way this weekend

    For the rest of today, it will remain nice and sunny with no rain around us. There may be a few clouds that roll their way in, but we will still have more sunshine. The humidity is also lower, thanks to the cold front from last night. Therefore, it feels very nice outside! Highs this afternoon will warm up to the mid 70s. Tonight, it will be a great evening to get outside. There will be no clouds in the sky, but it will be a little windy. 

    More >>

    For the rest of today, it will remain nice and sunny with no rain around us. There may be a few clouds that roll their way in, but we will still have more sunshine. The humidity is also lower, thanks to the cold front from last night. Therefore, it feels very nice outside! Highs this afternoon will warm up to the mid 70s. Tonight, it will be a great evening to get outside. There will be no clouds in the sky, but it will be a little windy. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly